When hiking out in the Spring Mountain National Recreation Area, you might see some fences keeping you on the trails. Why is it important not to cross those fences?
As part of a restoration project, these fences were installed in an effort to restore and protect habitat for the endangered Mount Charleston blue butterfly.
Many of the plants the tiny Mount Charleston blue butterfly relies on are small and blend effortlessly into the surrounding area. If you wander off the trail, it is easy to trample these critical plants accidentally.
You might be asking; how can I help protect the endangered Mount Charleston blue butterfly?
There are a few easy steps that everyone can take to reduce their impact and help conserve sensitive and endemic butterfly species.
• Watch where you step or ride. This can help protect plants that the Mount Charleston blue butterfly depends on for survival.
• Leave what you find. Please don't pick any flowers or plants that you see.
• Help minimize the spread of invasive plant species. Use the boot brushes at the trail head before and after hiking.
• Observe from a distance. Getting too close can cause butterflies to fly away, which wastes precious energy.
• Tell others about the Spring Mountain butterflies!
Adult Mount Charleston blue butterflies live a short life, typically 1 to 2 weeks, and can be seen early July to mid-August, with a peak in late July. The wingspan of a Mount Charleston blue butterfly can range from 3/4 to 1 inch. Males are dark to dull iridescent blue, and females are brown with a blue overlay. Their underside is gray, with a pattern of black spots, brown blotches, and pale wing veins to give it a mottled appearance.
Keep an eye out for these beautiful butterflies when out on the trails but remember to give them their space.